Self-Important Swine Ass
Saturday Night Live, May 14, 1979 (season 4, episode 19)
Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin debate the merits of nuclear energy in their famous satirical news program, Point/Counter-Point
The photo is from an episode of Saturday Night Live that aired in 1979. Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd did one of their famous Point/Counterpoint debates, which were a parody of the three-minute debates between James Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander that appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes program in the 1970s.
In this installment they debate the pros and cons of nuclear energy, at a time when the Three Mile Island accident and the plutonium poisoning of Karen Silkwood were in the headlines. As horrible as those events were, it now seems like a more innocent time, before the world knew of places called Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Plus ca change.... 34 years have passed and still no one has figured out what to do with nuclear waste--what Jane Curtin referred to as "... one pile you just can't flush down the toilet, Dan." It is remarkable to see how little the issues and the nature of the debate have changed. Both debaters hit on the same issues that have not been resolved to this day, and each paints the opposing side in the familiar demonizing strokes.
This video appears on YouTube occasionally, but NBC is very efficient about getting it pulled off. Readers who are familiar with the 70s version of SNL can recall the actors delivery as they read the transcript below.
Hello, I’m Dan Akroyd, station manager for Weekend Update. Yesterday a federal jury awarded 10.5 million dollars to the estate of Karen Silkwood, a 28-year-old laboratory technician contaminated by radiation in 1974 while employed at a Kerr-McGee Corporation plutonium plant. The verdict could have an impact on the future of the nuclear power industry, already clouded by the Three Mile Island incident. This will be the subject of tonight’s Point/Counter-Point. Jane will take the anti-nuclear point. I will take the pro-nuclear counter-point.
Dan, you self-important swine ass. There’s no future for nuclear energy because Three Mile Island taught everybody what some of us already knew: that nuclear power plants are time bombs ready to melt down, and even if nuclear power plants were safe, which they aren’t, there’s still the potentially more dangerous nuclear waste problem. But you don’t care about waste, Dan, you’re content to wallow in the short-term profits the corporate pigs reap for themselves. But unlike real pigs, the corporate animals haven’t learned that you don’t excrete where you eat. Their radioactive excrement will be with us for 250,000 years. That’s one pile you just can’t flush down the toilet, Dan.
Jane, you magnificently ignorant slut. Aren’t the gas lines in California proof enough that the energy crisis is for real? Nuclear energy provides 12% of our nation’s electricity, and who’d be the first to complain when the electricity goes out, Jane? You and your horde of promiscuous anti-nuclear harpies. I can just see you now sitting alone in your darkened apartment staring forlornly at your now useless vibrator. You’ll be humming a different tune then, Jane. But let’s talk about risks for a minute, Jane. Sure, nuclear power has risks, even though there has yet to be an industry-related fatality. But even so, this is not a risk-free society. Where is your liberal compassion when coal-miners die in the mines? And how about the 50,000 a year killed on our nation’s highways. You undergo a bigger risk of cancer taking one of your birth control pills, Jane, than you would living next door to an atomic plant, and all for the convenience of hopping indiscriminately from bed to bed with your fellow no nuke-niks. As for the waste problem, Jane, I, for one, have confidence in good old American technology. You just don’t understand the scientific mind. Let us thank God almighty that this country has dedicated sober scientists solving our problems through the long nights, while ignorant sluts like yourself writhe in coitus at anti-nuclear toga parties.